December 10, 2022

Doğanköy Coffee Shop

My memories around Alistair’s death (5)

my new life

KathyBy Kathy Martin…

This time – my new life

Every week since Alistair died (12 weeks tomorrow as I write this); I have been VERY conscious of how many weeks it was since the worst day of my life. Having the alarm set on my phone for 12.41 on Sundays, so when it pings I spend a moment or two thinking deep loving thoughts of Alistair.

This morning Saturday, 23rd January 2016, I had a sudden bolt of lightning, figuratively, strike me: My life has become so good now. If anyone had told me 3 months ago that I could feel this upbeat again, I would NEVER have believed them.

Feel this is an important message to pass on.

Happy Valley Restaurant and Landlord Riaz
Happy Valley Restaurant and Landlord Riaz

My week consists of visits to three different restaurant/bars for my daily lunch. Monday, Wednesday and Friday going to the Happy Valley; this is run by the excellent Riaz, he has to be (probably) the BEST landlord on the island.

Having a wonderful sense of humour, with great repartee with his expat and local customers, he makes me feel very welcome. I am very comfortable, even if no-one else turns up, which is rarely the case. As Alistair and I have used this bar for nearly 10 years, we know all the regular customers, so often have many happy lunch-time sessions.

Delta Bar
Jon, Alex, Alistair & Kathy at Delta Cafe Bar  in June 2015

Tuesdays and Saturdays at the Delta Cafe Bar in the New Harbour, a place Alistair and I also frequented. Much quieter than the old harbour in the centre of Girne and with our walking difficulties (mine, MS, and Alistair’s breathing) much easier to access. You may have read in my third Blog, Sasha, Jon and Alex accompanied me there on Friday 6th November, as I couldn’t have gone on my own and had to explain where Alistair was. Recep, the owner was so kind and as we were leaving he had said “I want to see you often, this must be your second home!


Thursdays and Sundays at Alesta, again a great favourite of ours, I waited, until going there with Soner & Kam Kioufi, before I could face telling them that Alistair had died.

Wednesday evenings, I join a group of Doğanköy expats at our local Coffee Shop for a very pleasant hour or two of chit-chat and passing on local news etc. This was something Alistair would have hated, as he was so shy and always found situations, where there were lots of people very uncomfortable. He was introvert, but I am extrovert!

Doğanköy Coffee Shop with Ramadan and Gökçen
Doğanköy Coffee Shop with Ramadan and Gökçen

I can easily afford to eat lunch out every day, with my widow’s benefit and Alistair’s company pension (I am getting his full pension, until end of January, when it will change to half his pension). It is only costing me about 25-40 Turkish Lira (about £5.75 – £9.30) a day.

However, I am NOT trapped into my routine and am more than happy to change my plans.

I have been a member of Frozen Cypriots, on Facebook, (this is a group open to Cypriots and friends of Cyprus around the world, regardless of race, colour or creed, with NO POLITICS allowed) for several years, but it is only since my beloved husband, Alistair, died that I have started visit more frequently.

Now I have a wonderful circle of virtual friends from around the world, far too many to mention by name except for the following who have become friends in the real world.

Tuesday 19th January 2016

Kiymet at Delta Bar 19.01.16

Kiymet Avaroğlu, who lives in Nicosia, Cyprus, joined me for lunch at one of my favourite cafe/bars (the Delta Cafe Bar) in Girne / Kyrenia, we had a lovely meal getting to know each other.

Thursday 21st January 2016

Made my first trip, since moving to Northern Cyprus in 2006, to South Cyprus (British Sovereign Base on Dheklia road, Larnaca), we had never felt the need to “go south”, as neither of us were desperate to have British foods, we were very happy with local produce.

Emilia, Kathy, Levanta, Gill and Ivor
Emilia, Kathy, Levanta, Gill and Ivor

Ivor Moon drove Gill, Levanta and me through the Pile (prounced pilay) crossing.

We were very early for our meeting, with Emilia, so we parked and went to The Happy Nest coffee shop, Pile. Delighted to find I could have “Cypriot coffee” (aka Turkish Coffee in Northern Cyprus). Levanta was fascinated to see the Pile Muhtar’s office, it is a mixed Turkish and Greek village.

Continued into the British Sovereign Base on Dheklia road, Larnaca. Emilia had reserved a table for us in the Lambros fish and chips restaurant, which was very busy.

Gill and Ivor enjoying their fish and chips
Gill and Ivor enjoying their fish and chips

Gill & Ivor Moon and I enjoyed our meal with these two lovely ladies, from the excellent Frozen Cypriots group. Levanta Gursen, a beautiful Turkish Cypriot, who it turns out lives extremely close to me in Girne, and Emilia Nicola, a beautiful Greek Cypriot girl, who lives in Larnaca.

We spent a very pleasant lunch time getting to know each other in the real world, but because of our time spent in the virtual world of Facebook, it was as if we had known each other for years. There was much banter and laughter, a day to be repeated in the future with other friends from Frozen Cypriots.

Gill tying ribbon to wishing tree
Gill tying ribbon to wishing tree

We were soon chatting like long lost friends. Emilia and Levanta, in particular, were so easy with each other, I found it lovely to see the way they gently teased each other and giggled so comfortably together. Gill, Ivor and I found it wonderful to see two Cypriot Ladies, not having the slightest conflict over the fact that one was a Turkish Cypriot and the other a Greek Cypriot. No politics, just lovely to witness.

Here are a few photos.

Group of photos showing the flamingos and Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque
Group of photos showing the flamingos and Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque

The flamingos were still on the Salt Lakes, near Larnaca, Emilia wanted to show them to Levanta and me (Gill and Ivor had made a trip earlier in January). At our suggestion, Levanta went in Emilia’s car, so they could continue chatting.

We parked near the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque and Levanta, Emilia and Gill went in to see the Mosque, the stairs down to the Mosque, were too scary for me so stayed with Ivor and we watched the numerous cats, including one couple who were trying to increase the population!

Young cat enjoying biscuits
Young cat enjoying biscuits

I photoed a small kitten that was very friendly and purred madly! Ivor had some cat biscuits, which were gratefully eaten up!!

After Emilia had led Ivor back to a part of Larnaca he recognised, we said a sad farewell with promises that once the warmer weather in Spring comes, we would repeat the day.

Sunday 24th January 2016

Another fabulous day, when friends from the Frozen Cypriots group met each other in the “Real” world for the first time.


Picked Levanta up and we went to Shooters coffee bar on the New Harbour road in Girne / Kyrenia. Soon Levanta received a call from George Kapodistrias and Vassiliki Stylianou, who live in Limassol, South Cyprus, and after directions were confirmed between Levanta and Doğankan they arrived. Once they arrived Levanta and I were astounded to find that Vassiliki and George had picked Doğankan up, on the outskirts of Lefkoşa, as he was hitching to Girne. As Vassiliki said “He had such an honest looking face, we were happy to stop”. Levanta was kept busy as a translator as Doğankan’s English was very limited and my Turkish is not much better!

George, Levanta, Kathy, Vassiliki and Doğankan at Shooters
George, Levanta, Kathy, Vassiliki and Doğankan at Shooters

We had coffees and hot chocolates together and within no time at all it was as if we had known each other for years. George told us that he last saw Kyrenia about 40 years ago. He kept asking Levanta and me where places were and we couldn’t help, as he used the Greek names.

As an English “outsider” I was fascinated by the interaction and found myself thinking wouldn’t it be wonderful if all Cypriots could get on so well. Do NOT want to bring politics into the day, so will gloss over some of the interesting conversations, suffice to say we ended up feeling very happy in each other’s company!

Doğankan, Vassiliki , George and Levanta at Alesta’s Restaurant
Doğankan, Vassiliki , George and Levanta at Alesta’s Restaurant

We invited them to come and have lunch with us at Alesta’s restaurant, just around the corner on the main Girne to Çatalköy road. Excitement, as they discovered that Alesta had been born in their home town of Limassol. A wonderful time was had by all!

Vassiliki & George have invited Levanta and me to go to stay with them in Limassol, however, explained that my old car couldn’t possibly cope with such a long journey, so this is only a “maybe” visit.

I asked Levanta to translate for Doğankan “He had no idea he was going to meet such a mad set of people when he accepted the lift!” Doğankan replied “He was very happy to have met us”!

Another new aspect to my life is writing my blogs

After working with Chris Elliott & Margaret Sheard on releasing Alistair’s life story on found I was enjoying writing.

Once I finished Alistair’s story, wrote about my experiences of becoming a widow here in Northern Cyprus. Followed by this (my life now) three months on from that awful day.

For any new widow or widower I have a few words to add.

  1. Do not be afraid to cry and shout and lose your temper with your departed husband/wife. It helped me to come to terms with my huge loss. Rage is a normal part of the grieving process.
  2. The best advice I was given – do not turn down invitations from your friends.
  3. Ask for help – I found so many people were very happy to assist me.
  4. Come to terms with your new life, accept that you will hopefully have many more years to live and no-one can grieve forever.
  5. If it feels right for you there is nothing to stop you forming a new relationship – cannot see myself ever doing it BUT we are all different and you need to do what is right for you.

Next time: Will start to reproduce Alistair’s rambles

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